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Kylie Davenport/Rider Chronicle
Are you smarter than a 10-year-old?
Aahil Farooq thriving in high school despite age
September 19, 2022
The hallways are packed full of students this year, all pushing and shoving the crowd to get to their classes on time. Among the huge crowd walks a short, black-haired freshman boy.
But Aahil Farooq isn’t your average freshman. He should be finishing up his last year of elementary school. Instead, the 10-year-old is starting his first year of high school.
Farooq came here from seventh grade at Barwise after skipping eighth. Of course, being a freshman so young comes with its worries.
“My biggest fear was getting bullied,” Farooq said. “But it never did happen.”
There’s always the fear that you won’t fit in with the older kids too, but Aahil said that hasn’t happened either.
“Another fear I had was making no friends and just being lonely here,” Farooq said. “But then I made some friends, so I feel like my fears went pretty well.”
His older brother, Ayon Farooq, who is a 13-year-old freshman and will become a sophomore next semester, has been trying to look after his little brother as much as possible, while also trying to adapt to high school being young himself.
“I’ve been walking him to class, helping if he has any problems,” Ayon said. “I feel like he so far has got it (down) with the problems he’s had, and I feel like he’s just been doing really well.”
One of Aahil’s biggest challenges has been his height – or lack thereof.
“If I can’t see the number of the classroom, then I always forget. But now that I’ve written it down, I feel like I’ve gotten my biggest challenge done,” Aahil said.
Not being able to see isn’t the only fear that comes with being so small compared to those around you.
“Another challenge for me is getting trampled over,” Aahil said. “It hasn’t happened yet, but it has gotten close.”
Despite his age, Aahil still enjoys his classes he has here at Rider High School, just the same as he did last year during his time at Barwise.
“Choir is my favorite class, because I love singing,” Aahil said. “Seventh grade is when I really got into choir, and I made all-region.”
His mother, Ambreen Farooq, said Aahil’s transition to high school is going well.
“I feel pretty good about Aahil, he has had no challenges, he’s my carefree kid. Even right now, all of his grades are As,” Ambreen said. “So it’s wonderful, there’s no challenges as far as that goes. He’s been very impressive.”
Despite what one may think, the process of getting someone that young into high school was rather simple for the parents.
“It wasn’t that difficult. It just takes planning and working with them. I attended a high school transition seminar, and that’s where it helped me plan their future,” Ambreen explained. “By taking a few extra classes and staying on top of materials is how they’re here.”
Ayon is very proud and impressed with the feats of his younger brother, explaining just how much his brother has been an inspiration.
“He’s been very inspiring, in the way that really anybody can do anything as long as they try hard enough, like he has,” Ayon said.
Aahil has always been incredibly intelligent, but it was fourth grade when he really got his big leap on academics.
“I realized he was so gifted when he was in fourth grade because he kept being like ‘I have no homework, I have no homework,’” Ambreen said. “So I realized, we need to start challenging you.”
While skipping grades may have been easy for the parents to set up, it took extreme dedication and hard work on the student’s part. Zara, a junior and the oldest sibling, has been impressed with her younger brothers.
“Basically both Ayon and Aahil, they gave up their entire summers,” Zara said. “So they would go to school, finish the grade that they’re in, and then during the three months that they had off, they would take extra courses online to skip to the next grade.”
Not only did the Farooq brothers give up their time off from schooling, they also gave up many summer activities to jump ahead.
“We didn’t get to travel very often during the summer because of their school,” Zara said. “They gave up a lot of activities they could’ve been doing, like hanging out with their friends or just relaxing.”
While fourth grade may have been the start of Aahil’s career grade jumping, he’s been overachieving since the beginning.
“Aahil is born on Sept. 22, but the cutoff date for kids going into kindergarten is around Sept. 1,” Zara said. “So my parents were really upset that just because he was born three weeks later, that he had to wait a whole other year just to be in kindergarten. So they had him take a placement test, and he just jumped in.”
It may seem unachievable for most students to skip so far ahead academically like Aahil has, but his mother believes that it is obtainable for students with enough determination and work.
“If the parents put in the right effort with their kids, and actually learn the WFISD program, how the grading works and how to next-level challenge your kids, I would honestly think any kid can do it with kids that are committed to working toward it,” Ambreen said.